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Carnatic Chamber Concerts: June 2018 Event Summary

Written By: Sashwat Mahalingam, Anirudh Ramadurai, Srishiva Manikantan, & Sripradha Manikantan


It is a commonly reiterated fact that one of the biggest pillars of support that youth musicians in the modern era could possibly receive is that of their own parents. The countless days of work these parents put into accommodating rehearsals, commuting to classes, helping to organize events, etc. is immeasurable. This month’s CCC event lingered around a very significant date honoring one side of parenthood: Father’s Day, to honor the conscientious, hard working fathers who not only facilitate various aspects of our daily lives, but also inculcate priceless values, life lessons, and traits in us.The June 2018 CCC event had a noticeable amount of trends as a patronage to fatherhood, making the event rather thematic and enjoyable as a whole.

Advika Anand (Vocal):

Advika Anand started the program with her vocal performance that was accompanied by Thejaswini Sai Swaminathan on the violin and Kishore Lakshmanan on the Mridangam. Advika rendered a popular varnam composed by Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar, “ninnu kOri” in ragam Mohanam, a janyam of the 28th melakartha, Harikamboji, set to Adi Talam. Advika had a sweet voice that went appropriately with the ragam she presented. Advika’s splendid performance was replicated by Thejaswini and Kishore as they showcased their wonderful talents on their instruments.

Umesh Gopi (Vocal):

Umesh Gopi’s performance was accompanied by Sahas Ramesh on the violin and Akshay Suresh on the mridangam. Umesh started with a varnam composed by Sri Patnam Subramanya Iyer, “evvari bOdhana” in raga Abhogi, a janyam of the 22nd melakartha, Kharaharapriya, set to Adi talam, composed by  Sri Patnam Subramanya Iyer.  Umesh did an awesome job with his varnam rendition keeping laya aspects and raga bhavam in mind. Following the varnam, he proceed with one of the popular compositions of Saint Tyagaraja, “manavyAlakim” in raga Nalinakanthi, a janyam of the 27th melakartha, Sarasangi, set to Deshadi talam. Umesh demonstrated his voice range and comfortability with the raga throughout his rendition. Violinist, Sahas nicely followed the krithi and varnam thereby providing the best support, while percussionist, Akshay gave a dynamic and enthusiastic support to the vocalist.

Prisha Balan (Vocal):

Following Umesh, vocalist Prisha Balan and her accompanists, violinist Vandana Chari and percussionist Vivek Arvind, started off with a nice slokam on Lord Shiva and Parvathi, “vāgarthāviva saṁpṛktau” in Bahudari. Following the slokam, Prisha rendered a very famous melodious composition of Achyuta Dasar, “sadAnanda tANDavam” in the ragam Bahudari, a janyam of the 28th melakartha, Harikamboji, set to Adi talam. Prisha brought out the essence of the song through her bhavam. Her voice was so flexible that could easily reach very high notes with ease. Vandana’s response to slokam and krithi was very good that blended well with the sangathis and raga bhavam. Following this, Prisha rendered another classical rare composition of Saint Tyagaraja, “bAgAyanayya” in ragam Chandrajyothi, a janyam of the41st melakartha, Pavani, set to Deshadi talam. Chandrajyoti is an attractive ragam, and Prisha did justice with her versatile voice. Percussionist, Vivek gave an excellent support by following the required phase of the krithis maintaining the layam aspects.

Rithu Paramesh (Vocal):

Rithu Paramesh’s vocal performance was by supported by Aparna Basavapatna on the violin and Sachin Venkat on the mridangam. Rithu first performed a rare krithi composed by Saint Thyagaraja,“bhuvini dAsuDanE” in ragam Sriranjani, set to Deshadi Talam. In this krithi, Rithu showcased her bold voice well-aligned with shruthi. Then, Rithu performed a composition of Saint Purandaradasa, “bhakta janaka pAlaka” in ragam Abheri, set to Deshadi Talam. She showcased her wide range of vocal pitch throughout her performance. Aparna and Sachin supported Rithu substantially as they presented their skills on their instruments.

Ananya Rao (Vocal):

Following Rithu’s bold rendition was a melodious performance by Ananya Rao on the vocal, Shravya Srinath on the violin, and Ambika Ramadurai on the mridangam. Ananya began with a short alapana in the ragam Mohanam. The alapana was a bright start to the rendition and showcased the scope of the ragam in a nutshell. Following the alapana, Ananya proceeded to render “rAmA ninnu namminA,” set to Adi Talam and composed by Saint Tyagaraja. Ananya showcased simple kalpanaswarams in her performance at the Pallavi line. Shravya’s responses to all of these were equally skilled, where each pattern was matched with as much spontaneity and speed. Ananya ended with a simple eddam-to-eddam korvai and concluded her piece. Throughout the piece, Ambika’s accompaniment on the mridangam was spirited and enhanced the overall presentation.

Niyati Sriram (Vocal):

Following Ananya’s rendition was a performance by Niyati Sriram on the vocal, Srishiva Manikantan on the violin, and Akshay Aravindan on the mridangam. The performance commenced with an alapana in the ragam Dharmavathi, the 59th melakartha on the 72-melakartha scale. The alapana was crisp and skillfully executed with a great deal of gamakam emphasis and a steady overall pace, and it was particularly commendable because  Dharmavathi in itself is a rather uncommon choice of ragam. Srishiva’s response on the violin was equally professional as he incorporated a lot of eye-catching phrases and displayed his enhanced prowess in the handling of the ragam overall. Consequent to the alapana was Mysore Vasudevacharya’s krithi, "bhajana sEya rAdA," set to Rupaka Talam. In her manodharmam, Niyati chose the line ‘niravadhi sukhadAyakuni’ for niraval and swaram. Though brief, the niraval covered a variety of gamakams and octaves from both the vocalist and violinist, making it enjoyable as a whole. Niyati’s mEl kAlam swarams that succeeded were embedded with lots of intricate sarvalaghu patterns, as well as a few kanakku ideas, while Srishiva’s responses kept the same fundamental concepts in mind while also incorporating his own ideas into the mix. This was followed by a short swaram essay and an eddam-to-eddam korvai set into patterns of 6 swarams. Throughout the performance, Akshay’s accompaniment on the mridangam was well-tailored to the entire krithi and brisk enough to bring out the dynamism in his playing but also steady enough for the mood of the song and ragam. Following the swarams, he played a riveting samam-to-eddam mora and korvai.

Vaibhav Prakash (Vocal):

Subsequent to Niyati’s distinct performance was a performance by Vaibhav Prakash, accompanied by Urmika Balaji on the violin and Srihari Srinivasan on the mridangam. Vaibhav began with a short, but dynamic alapana in Chandrajyothi. In his alapana, Vaibhav demonstrated his extremely flexible voice as well as his ability to bring out the bhavam of the ragam. Vaibhav then presented  Saint Tyagaraja’s composition, sasivadanA bhakta janAvana, set to Adi Talam. After a sensitive rendering of the Kriti, Vaibhav then proceeded to swarams on the Pallavi line. He was effortless in his ability to sing sarvalaghu patterns and also took up the challenge of including mEl kAlam tisram swarams. He then followed it by an amazing koraippu with interesting sarvalaghu and an elegant korvai to top it off. Urmika responded to all the challenges with clarity and originality. Throughout the performance, Srihari gave a dynamic accompaniment keeping up with both the vocalist and the violinist.

Manya Sriram (Vocal):

Manya Sriram’s on-the-spot vocal performance was accompanied by Aparna Thyagarajan on the violin and Avinash Anand on the mridangam. Manya began with an alapana in raga Pantuvarali, the 51st melakartha ragam in the 72 melakartha scale. She described many phrases and showcased her wide vocal range in her alapana. Then she proceeded with a popular krithi composed by Saint Thyagaraja, “raghuvara nannu,” set to Deshadi Talam. Manya took up the challenge of performing neraval and kalpanaswaram in the line “manasuna nIkE marulu konnAnu”. She demonstrated various shades of raga and her understanding of the layam aspects were appreciable. Manya started her niraval with madhyama kalam and moved on to a few rounds of mEl kalam followed by swarams in mEl kalam. She ended up with a nice edam-to-edam korvai. Aparna’s responses to Manya’s exhibitions were equally proficient, and Avinash’s accompaniment on the mridangam gave a lively feeling to the audience, appropriately matching the rhythm and speed of the krithi.

Apurvaa & Aishwarya Anand (Violin):

Following Manya’s performance was a violin duet by sisters, Apurvaa Anand and Aishwarya Anand, accompanied by Akshay Venkatesan on Mridangam and Anirudh Rao on Kanjira. Violin duet began with a bright alapana in Kamboji, 28th mela Harikamboji Janyam followed by an enjoyable “mA jAnaki” composed by Saint Tyagaraja set to Deshadi talam. Alapana was notable for its brilliance and flexibility full of nice passages replete with scales to instill a signifying effect in the minds of the audience. The krithi was played melodiously with niraval in charanam line, “vANi mATalaku gopagkinchi kaNTa” and swarms followed by. Niraval was played in both madhyama kalam and mEl kalam sustained on higher Sadjam. Swarms had nice sarvalaghu patterns involving kanakku. The usage of yathis showed a significant grip on raga and laya aspects. An eddam-to-eddam Koraippu followed by the swarms was neatly organized. Overall, the manodharmam exercises were in tune with perfect rhythmic articulation, energetic and virtuosic violin play. Percussionists Akshay and Anirudh elevated the performance with their excellent play. They ornamented the performance with nice mridangam-kanjira exchanges leading to a terrific Thani avarthanam.

Shruthi Jaganathan (Vocal):

The concluding performance of the evening was an on-the-spot performance by Shruthi Jaganathan on the vocal, Aditya Satyadeep on the violin, and Sriram Subramanian on the mridangam. Shruthi began with an elaborate alapana in the ragam Mohanam. Her ragam rendition integrated a lot of oscillatory phrases and gamakams that enhanced the classical aspect of this nostalgic tune. Shruthi also displayed a great range of voice, particularly the effortless taara sthayi swarams she gave scope to during the alapana. A soulful response on the violin ensued from Aditya, where he embellished with flavorful brigas, kampitams, and near-perfect intonation. Following this was Papanasam Sivan’s grand krithi (with a notably long 8-avarthanam charanam), Narayana Divyanamam, set to Rettakalai Adi Talam. For her niraval and swarams, Shruthi chose the line “maara janakan karuNAlayan.” Given that this particular line is set in a madhyamakalam tempo, niraval is meant to be a challenging aspect of manodharmam to handle (similar to famous madhyamakalam lines in Dikshitar compositions). The niraval was handled proficiently by both the vocalist and violinist, where each gave a lot of scope into this vast ragam’s sancharams and elegant phrases. The swarams that came after involved a variety of keezh kalam patterns and sarvalaghu, including mixed kAlam kanakku patterns. Additionally, Shruthi and Aditya incorporated a lot of chatushram-based swaraprastharams in mEl kAlam swarams, as well as classic kanakku such as 3*5 and 3*6. The final korappu on the taara sthayi shadjam implemented tisra nadai swarams as well as mixed nadai combinations, making the whole course of the swaram interesting to observe. Topping it off was a mixed nadai korvai in chatushra and tisra nadai. Throughout the performance, Sriram accentuated the grandeur of the composition with his polished, well-paced accompaniment on the mridangam. He concluded the manodharmam with a samam-to-samam mora-korvai involving a scintillating misra nadai korvai at the very end.


As seen in the summaries, the kritis or the ragams selected by our performers this month were a tribute to our parents, especially Fathers. There were three pieces in Mohanam, a very soothing and relaxing ragam. Event after event, it is evident from the number of dads who sit in the front row with their video cameras that they are cool enough to handle the stress of their children performing, and their soothing presence helps the child relax and give their best performance! Mohanam was indeed a good choice for Father’s Day, and a shout out to our very own Mohan uncle, the Father of CCC, for all his support to the organization! Our master composers, especially Saint Tyagaraja, made it easy for us to choose songs for such occasions! Songs on Rama were chosen by performers, whose dads who have ‘rAma’ in their name! The viruttam, “vāgarthāviva saṁpṛktau”,  a Kalidasa composition, which asks for the blessings of the divine couple, Shiva and Parvati, considered as parents of the universe was also an appropriate choice. Another aspect of June CCC that made all the parents proud was that we witnessed a lot of first time performers, both vocalists, and accompanists, and we also celebrated our members who will be heading off to college to pursue their academic dreams. It is always amazing to see how the senior members manage the academic rigors and their music practice. They indeed have been and will remain role-models for all the young musicians at CCC. On the whole, June CCC proved to be a culmination of many things and also got us ready for new beginnings. We look forward to our next event which will feature all our gurus!